and guests have these comments:
“Riding in the Pantanal is a unique opportunity to visit an extraordinary, pristine ecosystem with some of the most colourful and abundant birdlife we have ever seen*. Our guide and hosts on the estancias were knowledgeable, attentive and genuine, being the descendants of original settlers. It was inspiring to see how people can continue to make a living in such isolation, relying on their own ingenuity and co-operation within their local community. The horses were incredible, existing as they do for 6 months of the year standing in water! Truly a holiday to remember! “ *Peta has ridden in many, many countries of the world. Peta, June 2018
"A wonderful adventure! We were privileged to participate in an extraordinary way of life in two remote communities cut off by road for months at a time. We were made to feel very welcome and, in the cattle roundup, quite useful! I did think we could have taken sandwiches in saddle bags for lunch but Pantanal hospitality required us to have a sit down meal every day either at the homestead or, on one occasion, on high ground above the flooded draining fields we were riding through delivered by a Landrover Defender, a tractor, a trailer, a boat, 3 men and our hostess. Unforgettable! I will go back again and see what is it like when not under 2-3’ of water*." Caroline, June 2018
*June is just after the rainy season. Our October ride is at the end of the dry season.
"What a wonderful riding experience! I thoroughly enjoyed a two day ride with my daughter when we visited Ecuador recently. The horses were amazing – healthy, beautiful and strong. Sally obviously cares a great deal about the horses and also for the guests to have a good time. She was organized and gave us good instruction on riding the horses (we are both beginner riders) and the days were well planned right down to the delicious picnics we had on the rolling hills. The hacienda [where we stayed 2 nights] was so lovely and historic and the dinners were great! They even took care to accommodate some eating restrictions. It couldn’t have been a better experience and thinking about cantering on Comanche brings a big smile to my face. Thanks Sally!" Helen, Private Ride, Ecuador, Feb 2018
“Thank you so much for a brilliant ride, all the horses impressed me …The accommodation was excellent, some of the best I have experienced on trips and unfortunately I feel it is going to be a very hard act to follow.” Marilyn, Colonial Haciendas, Ecuador 2017
“… The first part we experienced the lush vegetation of the coffee plantations … the second part we rode from hacienda to hacienda to monastery to Villa de Leyva, we saw further evidence of the huge variety of scenery and ecosystems Colombia has to offer. Go soon before everyone discovers it! These holidays are 'full on' - expect to ride at least five hours a day on great horses with competent and friendly local guides, expect three good meals - a variety across the spectrum of good wholesome local food, comfortable accommodation and the chance to see somewhere special from the back of a horse. A variety of local 'experiences' are also included - e.g. lunch at a local pottery and the chance to play ‘tejo’ - the local explosive version of boule! We enjoyed Bogota and went on a city tour Sally arranged for us - we found the people in Colombia genuinely friendly and helpful and really enjoyed and brought home with us one local product - the coffee!” PAUL & ANITA, Colombia Ride.
“Thank you so much for a really good holiday last week. I enjoyed myself so much, one of the best riding holidays I've been on. I loved your lovely horses and could have spent weeks riding around Cotopaxi national park” Vivien, October 2017
"Lovely horses in fantastic scenery – I have never ridden in such stunning countryside. All the staff were friendly and welcoming and the horses were great fun to ride". Jo, UK, May 2017
"Fine riding, great horses and the wonder of senses this time has been for us. Your tours are the best of the best and I shall remember them always. Many thanks." Harry US 29/12/16
"We had a wonderful ride! Every day was better than the one before. Great horses, great people, great haciendas." Catherine USA 13/01/17
"For me 10 days riding in the Andes of Ecuador with Sally was a journey bordering on spiritual. Each day brought unexpected interesting and exciting experiences and sights. As a lifelong equestrian & horse owner myself I can say with confidence that the horses were lovely. They were kind, energetic and very strong. Join a ride with Ride Andes & your life will be enriched." Liz, USA 29/01/17
"My daughter and I had a very memorable 5 day, 4 night private ride with Sally and her fabulous team in Ecuador in September 2016. All the horses we rode were great - forward going and very responsive. The countryside is really stunning, especially the last couple of days in Cotapaxi which proved to be the most fabulous finale to a really memorable few days. The chagras who guided us were so knowledgable and being surrounded by herds of wild horses in such an amazing landscape was quite surreal. Sally's attention to detail is second to none and we really enjoyed the range of accommodation we stayed in with charming hosts. We would thoroughly recommend Ride Andes which proved to be everything we hoped it would be." J.W, Oct 2016
"Very sad to be coming to the end of an amazing 10 days. Wonderful riding on a wide selection of well-schooled, enjoyable horses – one to suit any rider. A well organised trip through three very different habitats. A great introduction to the varied ecosystems of Ecuador, its wildlife and plant life. And above all a fascinating insight into the lives of indigenous Ecuadoreans. A fascinating experience.Thanks to Sally and all the team." Chris, UK 29/01/17
"Dear Sally and staff, I had a great time in Ecuador and I enjoyed very much the variety of landscape, terrain, accommodation, food and horses! It is not easy to put together such an enjoyable trip and I really appreciate all your effort and attentive service. A special thanks to my nurse Sally, I would never have made it without your pills and your help. Thank you very much again." Sandra. Italy 06/12/16
"Dear Sally and Co, Thank you so much! I have had a fantastic time in Ecuador and much of that was down to your care and planning – and of course your fantastic horses." Anna, UK 06/12/16
“Very enjoyable, thank you. Great variety across the 3 sections of the ride. Just a shame the weather gods were not entirely with us." Anthony, UK 6/12/16
"Dear Sally, Belinda, Olivia & all the behind the scenes people at Ride Andes, I feel so incredibly lucky to have been on one of your amazing rides (so long in the making I’m sure) you have certainly shown us Ecuador in all its glory. I particularly loved Piñan,a place the world forgot. All of your efforts to make this trip special were very much appreciated & I can’t wait to join on another ride somewhere else in South America, With enormous thanks," Louise UK 06/12/16
"What a great way to spend the holiday! I loved the horses and the accommodation. Your staff are lovely. I am interested in another trip with you, maybe Colombia. Thanks so much," Jennifer, Scandinavia 29/12/16
"Astounding scenery, athletic horses. Wonderful wrangler / chagras and one of the best rides I’ve taken anywhere. Many thanks Sally", Kate, US 29/12/16
"The horses are fantastically fit, the landscape is stunning, Sally and her staff took excellent care of us and we cantered enough to satisfy anyone! Delicious meals too. Thank you for a wonderful week and for making Christmas Eve special." Laura, US 29/12/16
Such a fabulous week, marvellous horses, great company, super accommodation and food – I will be back! Thank you." Marilyn, UK 13/01/17
"What a great horse riding vacation. Wonderful staff, beautiful scenery, lovely haciendas and amazing food. Thanks to all." Rita, US 13/01/17
"A 5 star ride combining 3 different areas, great horses and some excellent cultural engagement too. All accommodation was super, food was plentiful and Ecuador is simply beautiful. Loved the experience at San Clemente and Piñan. But given I came mainly for the riding, Sally’s horses were outstanding. I was lucky to ride Tostado – one of the best horses I’ve ever ridden on a horseback holiday. Thank you!" Sue, UK 29/01/17
"This trip has been an absolute dream. It has been everything I’d hoped for and more. I’ve learned so much on this adventure about horses, geology, Latin America etc.. I am leaving this trip feeling relaxed, inspired and with a new perspective on the value of community. I hope to come back as soon as possible, especially to Piñan. Thank you for the adventure, the wonder and the kindness." Lucy, USA, 29/01/17
"What a wonderful holiday! So varied though the most beautiful mountain scenery and local villages. A great cultural insight into Ecuador as well as fantastic horses – sure footed, energetic and very honest and genuine. Fantastic views of Cayambe Volcano and glimpses of Cotopaxi was a dream come true to be able to ride so close to active volcanoes. Excellent accommodation throughout. Particularly liked wearing the Ecuadorian local dress at San Clemente and stroking the llamas. The horses were well looked after and a pleasure to ride. Thank you muchas gracias!" Steph, UK 29/01/17
"Thank you for a super trip. You and your people looked after us wonderfully. The horses were great and obviously well cared for. It was a great opportunity to get to know a fascinating country and the welcome everywhere couldn’t have been better. Thank you." Shiela, UK 29/01/17
"Sally, Kate, Claire and Anna, Hard to describe how incredible these last few days have been – I have been so overwhelmed by the horses, scenery, riding, accommodation, the guiding and the company! It has truly been the most wonderful and special adventure and I can’t thank you all enough for all you have done for me, I can’t wait to return!" Anna, UK 6/3/17
"I had a great time in Ecuador and enjoyed very much the variety of landscape, terrain, accommodations, food and horses!" Sandra, 6/12/17
“We loved our entire trip” JW 9/17
“I have to say that it was the best week of my life …So thank you for such an amazing experience.” Mimi
“… thank you for the most wonderful holiday. An experience of a lifetime! You made it so interesting and Antares and Lambchop [2 of our horses] were perfect for me. I loved the country and the people…” Diana
“Just to say thank you so much for a great ride. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Galloping with the wild horses and Cotopaxi as a back drop was only surpassed by climbing to 4,200mtrs with Condors overhead. Please say a big thank you to all your team.” Julie
“You couldn't ask for a more perfect riding holiday than with Sally at Ride Andes. We have had two family holidays with Sally in Uruguay and Ecuador and both have been an experience of a lifetime! Sally's attention to detail is superb and leads for a perfectly smooth riding holiday on terrific and well cared for horses!” Demelza
“Thanks for a great great week .. I loved all of it and felt very privileged to ride your lovely horses... It was a great route and all the places we stayed were special.” A. July 2016
“ THANK YOU FOR A FABULOUS HOLIDAY ON THE HACIENDAS RIDING TOUR!!!. It gets an A+ rating - based on experiences with 16 other riding holidays on four continents over the past 17 years.” Luis
Our Ecuador trip with Ride Andes was one of the best vacations my wife and I have taken. Sally and her staff took care of everything, were informative, and a pleasure to be with. The horses were wonderful. The scenery, haciendas, and food were amazing. We rode (walking, trotting, and the longest canters I’ve ever done) for 7 days through the Andean Highlands, remote villages, tree-lined lanes surrounded by roses, mountains and volcanoes. I would recommend this trip and Ride Andes to anyone looking for the adventure of their life. Bruce, January 2016
“Uruguay, our second adventure with Ride Andes, was like our first Ride Andes tour in Ecuador - absolutely fantastic! My husband and I have quickly come to expect from Sally Vergette and Ride Andes: (1) Fabulously fit horses that absolutely suit our very different riding styles and the varied pace and terrain; (2) immersion into the lifestyle and culture of the countries we visit; (3) day after day of delightful and interesting riding, exploring, cuisine and accommodations. What a vacation! We are already looking at where Ride Andes might take us next.” Kris, March 2015
“ I just wanted to thank you for the amazing riding experience. I enjoyed every minute of it and your trip opened my eyes to seeing the world in a different way…On horses! Thanks for letting us join. You and Gaspar were great guides and Christian [local horseman] is just about the warmest person I've met in my life. Your team made the experience worthwhile. … Cheers!” Andrew , Jan 2015
"Greg enjoyed the riding so much that he is keen to go on another horse riding adventure now and has even asked how we could ever go back to any other holiday. He went from being a competent beginner to good intermediate rider (the continuity did him (and me) the world of good) although I think he would argue that he is now a pro and should be entering the next Olympics!" Jane W, June 2013
‘I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the week riding with you. Your horses and staff were fabulous …I feel very privileged to have seen the wonderful Andean landscape, had a glimpse of local life and stayed in beautiful haciendas. We’re already discussing when and where to book to come and ride with you again!’ Sarah
“LOVED IT, BRILLIANT, SUPERB, LIFE CHANGING etc etc...The guide was fabulous. She was extremely friendly and conscientious and did a sterling job. Nothing was too much trouble for her. As predicted, the organisation was perfection.One of the best -- quite possibly THE best -- rides ever! A definite ‘Must Do’.” Clare
“Riding through the Avenue of Volcanoes in the Andes was without doubt one of the most spectacular things I have ever done.” Jamie
“If this trip was priced by the number of times we heard "amazing" and "incredible" from the group, I never could have afforded to go. This is one of those, 100 trips to take before you leave this world. One word for the trip ....... ‘AMAZING’ “. Mark
“The ride was spectacular from beginning to end. It was everything that we had hoped for and more. We had a lovely guide…From the organizational point of view everything worked like clockwork. The horses were excellent and the gauchos were all most helpful … The scenery was spectacular and everyday had something exciting like crossing rivers, suspension bridges, steep climbs, staying in unique places like the island and even a rapid boat ride at the end. I would highly recommend the ride. Thank you for making it happen it was stunning.” Jennifer
‘A truly magical experience, wonderfully trained, good looking, strong horses, beautiful Haciendas in stunning locations, plenty of good tasty food, culminating in a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved in an authentic Ecuadorian experience - the cattle and horse round up. Nothing was too much trouble for Sally, the attention to detail was impeccable, this truly was a fantastic, exhilarating riding holiday.’ Lola
‘…thank you for the great organisation of the Uruguay trip… I had never enjoyed riding as much as I did during our trip.’ Francisco
‘I really enjoyed our trip …very entertaining and I hadn't laughed so much for ages. When people here ask what was the best bit of the whole trip I seem to be remembering all our fun beach rides and lunches and the laughter. And thanks to Sally for finding excellent horses for me - you will have noticed I bonded closely! And also thanks for the organisation that went into the trip. I found everyone I met in Uruguay very friendly and liked the feel of the country, and in particular all the people you are working with are very special. It was a treat to be with people who so willingly shared their knowledge of the history and wildlife. …definitely be planning a return trip - perhaps next year...’ Chris
'The most memorable meal was in Argentina while camping. It was the best steak I have ever tasted which was cooked on an open fire beside a river running with clear clean water over beautiful pebbles. The steak of course was from a Hereford! ( I work in Hereford and have eaten plenty of steak but this was by far the best).
We were really well fed at all the farms we stayed in - lovely home made bread, jam, butter and cakes. There were always scrambled eggs for breakfast from the farm hens as well as fruit, bread and sometimes yoghurt. Bernadita killed a turkey for us for our evening meal - no food miles there and all home produced.
The most challenging day was may be the day we were travelling to our first night in a house after camping (Argentina). There was a threat of snow in the morning as we set off, but fortunately this didn't materialise and I removed layers as the day went on- like peeling an onion!
We were so warmly greeted when we arrived at Dom and Tammy's farm was idyllic. It was set amongst short pasture on the bend of a river with the mountains all around. Built from logs and with open fires inside I expected Goldilocks and the three bears to appear at any moment. We had a sumptuous tea with homemade cake and tea in china cups and that was before a delicious evening meal!
A favourite day is very hard to choose there were so many special days. One wonderful day we had in Chile was the day we first swam the horses across a river. I had never done anything like this before and we did it twice that day. The horses seemed to take it all in their stride. They were untacked and taken in pairs to the edge of the river. With a rope on each horse to guide them and a Banquero in the boat with the boatman, they were encouraged into the river. They were really good swimmers and just climbed out the other side and shook off the loose water. Once all horses and riders were across, they were allowed to graze for a short while to stock up on calories before being tacked up again and continuing on. It was a magical experience.
One memorable occasion was when we rode into one of the few villagers on the route. There were a couple of local men in their ponchos who stopped to chat to the guides. Even with my very limited Spanish I realised that the chap I was politely smiling at was looking for a wife! Being happily married for 33 years he was out of luck that day! But perhaps the most memorable moment was swimming at the end of The Universe. The water was REALLY cold but the weather was beautiful. The river was called the Universe and we swam where it met another river, hence being able to swim at the end of the Universe.
The local farms we stayed in were simple but lovely. Their charm came from their simplicity and their beautiful surroundings and the very practical solutions to problems. Rather than tiling the wooden walls around the bath / shower, lino was used which was cut just at the edge of the bath so that the water ran into the bath and not between it and the wall.
Everyone we met gave us such a warm welcome and we had lovely home grown and home cooked food. All had open fires or log burning stoves which were lovely and cosy on a chilly evening.' Sue, November